The Big Ten season could not begin soon enough for the Ohio State Buckeyes men’s lacrosse team, which closed out its 2016 non-conference schedule with four-straight losses against ranked opponents, including the top two teams in the NCAA. The most recent defeat came at the hands of the No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Saturday in a 9-8 loss at Ohio Stadium. Despite leading at the half, the Buckeyes were unable to overcome a strong second half comeback by the Irish, who scored four goals to Ohio State’s zero in the third quarter to gain control of the game.
Notre Dame scored the first goal of the day less than four minutes into the game. Attackman Austin Shanks would respond with the Buckeyes’ first goal midway through the first quarter, and midfielder Tyler Pfister would tack on another goal less than a minute later to take a 2-1 lead. Notre Dame would score shortly thereafter, tying the game with five minutes remaining in the first quarter. After trading a goal apiece, midfielder Johnny Pearson scored his second goal of the game to give the Buckeyes a 4-3 lead heading into halftime.
Unfortunately, that’s when things fell apart for Ohio State. Notre Dame held the Buckeyes scoreless for almost the first 20 minutes of the second half, going on a 4-0 run through the third quarter to go up 7-4 heading into the final 15 minutes of play. Attackman Carter Brown snapped the scoring drought early in the fourth quarter to come within two. Both teams would trade goals, but the Buckeyes could come no closer than their two-point deficit until Brown scored his second goal of the day with 2:27 remaining in the game to bring the score to 9-8. Despite losing the ensuing faceoff, Ohio State capitalized on a turnover to get the ball back on attack for the team’s final possession of the game with two minutes left in the quarter. Brown managed a shot with 46-seconds remaining, but missed wide, sealing the victory for the Irish.
Ohio State’s defense played a solid game against Notre Dame, with goalie Tom Carey recording a dozen saves on the day. Pearson led the Buckeyes with a career-high four goals, while attackman Carter Brown added two more to the team’s total. Midfielder Jake Withers went 13-8 on faceoffs on the day.
With the loss, the Buckeyes have fallen to 5-5 on the season heading into conference play. Ohio State is scheduled to play Penn State at home next weekend before traveling to Baltimore to face Johns Hopkins in another test by a top-ten opponent.